I love this dish.
I think the reason might be that the broth is almost entire made with glugs of potent rice wine. If you are a fan of a tipple or two, this is just the dish for you and even if you are not, believe me, you will still enjoy this.
Despite the copious amount of alcohol, rice wine chicken is actually consider as a highly nutritious dish in all Hakka household. They would serve up this dish to the women in confinement period after giving birth. It is believed to help with blood circulation, build stronger immune system and restore the new mum back to good health.
Traditionally, this will be made with home brewed glutinous rice wine. A good home brewed rice wine is a laborious process and can take anything from one month to a year, depending on how mature you want the wine to be. They are stronger in alcohol content compare to commercially available ones and many older generations would swear by it, painstakingly making their own.
But as the privilege of owning a bottle of home brewed is not within my reach. I have to make do with shop-bought. The end result is just as delicious and aromatic.
Make sure that you check the label when you shop for the wine. It should indicate specifically glutinous rice wine as oppose to the more common Shaoxing wine, which is not the same. Glutinous rice wine is much sweeter and do not have the harsh, bitter taste.
Even though this is more commonly prepared as a nutritious herbal dish for women in confinement but personally, if you ask me, a dish as easy to prepare and as delicious as this, just seems a waste not to make it more often than that.
And so I did.
1kg small chicken, cut into bit-size pieces or alternatively use thighs and drumsticks
4 slices ginger, lightly bruised
2 tbsp sesame oil
350ml yellow glutinous rice wine (do not confuse this with shaoxing wine)
100ml water, you might not need to use all
4-5 pieces dried black fungus, soaked in warm water for 20 minutes, drained and cut into rough pieces
1 tsp sugar
salt, to taste
1 spring onion, only the green part, cut into rings
Soak the clay pot, if using, in water for 1 hour before using. This stop it from cracking when cooking.
Heat the sesame oil in a wok over medium heat. Add the ginger slice and stir-fry for about 1 minute, until fragrant.
Add the chicken pieces and continue to stir-fry for 5 minutes, until lightly browned on all sides.
Add 200ml of glutinous rice wine, black fungus, sugar and bring to the boil.
Transfer the contents to a clay pot and add enough water to cover the chicken. Cover with a lid and bring to the boil before turning down the heat to low and gently simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through.
Add the remaining glutinous rice wine and simmer for another 5 minutes (not too long as you don't want to completely cook off all the alcohol content), until the chicken is tender. Skim off the surface fat and season with salt to taste.
Garnish with the spring onions and serve hot straight from the clay pot with some steamed rice. Make sure you provide a spoon for all that boozy goodness.